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Community Peer Mentor Project


Who we are...   

The Community Peer Mentor project is the initiative of Ron Hogg, the ‘Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner (PCVC) for County Durham and Darlington. The Project helps support the PCVC plan of 2016-2021; to Inspire confidence in the police and criminal justice system, Support victims and the vulnerable - Tackle crime and keep our communities safe. We want to support people who feel they are vulnerable or isolated owing to anti-social behaviour, neighbourly disputes or as victims of crime.

 This approach is unique in the UK for tackling these issues.

The project aims to reduce the pressure on frontline emergency services, and local councils by engaging with those who make frequent calls and reducing the severity and frequency of the calls.

Peoples frustration are compounded by feelings of rejection, being ignored or the constant request to repeat ‘their story’ to professionals who may not have the time to engage and cannot fulfil the person needs; this has a negative impact on a person’s feelings of worth and wellbeing.

We are now covering the whole of County Durham. Since the project went live in May 2016 over 150 Community Peer Mentor Volunteers have completed our fantastic training, either the 2 Day course or the 5 week course (2½ hours a week for the 5 weeks). The training has been praised for preparing volunteers to engage with clients and this has led to the great success the project has had so far in support people across County Durham

 Project Support and coordinators…..

The project is lucky enough to have four coordinators to ensure great support for our mentors, clients and stakeholders.

 What we do...

Community Peer Mentors always work in pairs and their life experiences are used to match them with the needs and want of our clients they then help EMPOWER the client by offering support and establishing the root cause of particular issues. We aim to empower and encourage the client to actively engage with the community, and signpost them to the most appropriate support network or other professionals. Ultimately the aim is to make people feel safe and improve the circumstances they have found themselves in as well as reduce the demand on frontline services. 


To Make a Referral to Support Someone


We can, and will, work with anyone whatever their circumstance; our only criteria is that they have the ‘Will and Want to Change’.

 To make a referral into the project simply email the following information to: Communitypeermentors@durham.pnn.police.uk 


  • 1.      The person’s name, address, contact number, DoB and if they have agreed to be referred.

2.     What are the main issues and what do they want to happen

3.      Your contact details and if you would be willing to make the introduction to the client; if you are what is your availability.

4.      Any other information or risks which may be of use.

** Please remember that in some cases we will be unable to engage with a person owing to the potential risk to a civilian volunteer


Wish to become a volunteer or know someone who does?

 The Project recently received an award for the excellent support we provide for our volunteers; it was awarded by Durham Community Action for Excellence; who commented:

Quality and preparations made around training is welcoming and accessible; whilst providing a real quality of experience.

Personal benefits that volunteers gained from the project have led to other volunteering and employment.

Volunteers with a diverse range of skills areactively recruited providing real “lived experience”.


The Project was also honoured to win the Durham Constabulary 2017 ‘POP Award’ (Partnership Orientated Policing Award); this is awarded for best practise in working together to solve issues that have a negative effect on the local community.


Interested in volunteering with the project?

No previous experience in volunteering or supporting people is required; all we need are kind hearted and enthusiastic individuals with a willingness to help support vulnerable or isolated people across County Durham and Darlington.

We welcome people from all backgrounds; and life experiences, whatever they are; your past will not automatically be a barrier to you becoming a Community Peer mentor, and your life experience may help others.


What Community Peer Mentors do?

• Provide a confidential service, listening ear or act as an advocate

• Help increase reflectiveness

• Help the client learn about themselves

• Help establishing trust with the client

• Provide skills and confidence to resolve matters amicably

• Signpost to services if appropriate

• Form new friendships, interests or hobbies

• Robustly challenge inappropriate behaviour


The difference we are making: 

To promote closeness, social success, safety and resilience and an opportunity to learn'

You will be fully supported to help engage with everyone who wishes to take part with the project.

Our only criteria to Engage with a client is based on the GROW Model: We can support and work with anyone, whatever their circumstance; all they have to do is have the ‘will and want to change’.

G = Goal (set by, or with, the client)

R = Realistic (how Realistic is the Goal) Project

O = Options (to achieve the Goal) Project

W = Will and Want to change (The Client)

Community Peer Mentors aim to leave people with the hope, skills and confidence to lead a happier and more fulfilling life. 

What about training? 

The training is held in various locations across the County delivered by qualified and experienced facilitators. We offer the choice of completing either 5 evening sessions, held over a 5 week period; each lasting 2½ hours, or 2 full day sessions. The training provides opportunities to learn using various different mentoring techniques.

 We need people with life experiences so whatever your background, whatever has happened in your life do not let this be a barrier to YOU applying.

  • No age limits on people who wish to be Community Peer Mentors
  • Travel expenses and out of pocket expenses will be paid to volunteers when dealing with cases.
  • On-going and additional training is provided free; including NVQs.
  • We do not dictate how often you use your skills with us

Once trained you decide which areas within County Durham you would like to be a ‘Community Peer Mentor’

Come along and help make a real difference!

Get in touch

If you are a resident and feel either you or someone you know would benefit from our support, OR you are interested in becoming a Community Mentor Volunteer, please contact Jim Cunningham for further information, either by telephone or email:


The Project recently received an award by Durham Community Action, for Excellence, for the excellent support we provided for our volunteers. Durham Community Action commented:

'Quality and preparations made around training is welcoming and accessible; whilst providing a real quality of experience. 

Personal benefits that volunteers gained from the project have led to other volunteering and employment. 

Volunteers with a diverse range of skills are actively recruited providing real 'lived experience'.

Download the leaflets:



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